1) Green Bay Packers' free agent receiver Randall Cobb is reportedly looking to get close to Jordy Nelson type money. Nelson is making almost $10 million per season and Cobb is seeking about $9 million per year. Today is the first day teams can use the franchise tag, but the Packers aren't expected to tag Cobb.
If they can't work something out, the 24 year old Cobb will be able to take his services to the highest bidder, and seeing as how he just had a career year (91 receptions, 1,287 yards, 12 TDs) there will be plenty of bidders.
2) The NFL team many thought as the front runner to head to Los Angeles, the St. Louis Rams, is now taking a back seat to the San Diego Chargers. The Chargers obviously want a new stadium, but they also view L.A. as their market now, and they want to protect that market.
"Simply put, it would not be fair to the Chargers - a team that has worked for 14 years to find a stadium solution in San Diego County - to allow other teams that themselves abandoned the LA market to now return and gut the Chargers' local revenue stream,"
Time will tell if this is just a strategic bluff to the city of San Diego.
The last time a team played in L.A. was 1994, when both the Rams and Raiders called it home. We could be looking at both the Rams and Chargers relocating to L.A., if San Diego and St. Louis can't get things figured out. And we can't forget the Raiders, they are having their own stadium issues.
I know the L.A. market is the 2nd largest in the U.S., but I don't understand wanting to go to a city that has fizzled out in the NFL game before.
3) Peyton Manning wants to return to the Denver Broncos and they want him back, but it's... complicated. A definite decision should be made by the end of this week in regards to Manning playing in Denver as a 39 year old.
He'll need to pass a physical before March 9th and if he's on the roster on that day, he'll be guaranteed $19 million in 2015. The team may ask Manning to restructure his deal, plus Manning may feel he should wait and see if his #1 wide out, Demaryius Thomas, and top threat at TE, Julius Thomas, are both re-signed by the Broncos. Denver has a number of free agent issues, but they should be able to wiggle everyone they want back under the cap.
4) There was a lot was made last week, when it was revealed that NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell made $35 million in 2014. I don't get what the hand-wringing was all about, when you're the leader of a multi-billion dollar entity, $35 million seems about right.
5) With the NFL Combine coming up, NFL.com has a Scout's Glossary Pop Quiz lined up that's kind of neat.
I got 10 out of 10 even though I've never heard of forklifting!
6) It looks like former San Francisco 49ers head coach Jim Harbaugh leaving the team wasn't a mutual agreement.
"I didn't leave the 49ers. The 49ers hierarchy left me," Harbaugh said during the 30-minute interview. He said that he didn't want to put the 49ers in a bad spot, which is why the parting of ways was technically mutual. He also went on to confirm that he was told that he would be let go at the end of the season following a loss to the Seattle Seahawks in Week 15.
Harbaugh also said that going to his alma mater, the Michigan Wolverines, was his only consideration after he found out he would be unemployed.
7) Here's another weird one from San Francisco. Have you wondered how Adam Gase went from near shoe-in to land the 49ers head coaching job, to being hired as offensive coordinator for the Chicago Bears?
It seems that Gase wanted to keep Vic Fangio on as the defensive coordinator in San Francisco, but ownership wanted him to have Jim Tomsula, who was their defensive line coach at the time, to work as his D coordinator. Gase didn't want Tomsula, the Niners ended up naming Tomsula as their head coach, and now Gase is working on the same coaching staff as Fangio under John Fox in Chicago.
I like the fact that Gase stood his ground about not wanting to be force fed a coordinator. Getting a head coaching job in the NFL is a dream come true, but you want to be in a position to succeed with your guys.
8) The NFL Network's Mike Mayock had his pre-combine conference call today and he had some thoughts on the Chicago Bears and the NFL Draft.
If somehow Marcus Mariota fell into the Bears' laps at number 7, Mayock would stick with Jay Cutler at QB rather than draft Mariota. And I agree. If Mariota is there, I'd do my best to work a trade with the Philadelphia Eagles or another QB needy team. It's not that I don't think Mariota will be a good NFL QB, it's that I think the Bears' roster is so depleted that they need as many prospects that they can draft.
Here's Mayock's quote.
"I would struggle with the Mariota pick there, if he was available," NFL Network draft analyst Mike Mayock said via conference call on Monday. "I think it's hard to move away from a guy like Jay Cutler. Even though he has some issues, he's still proven that when he plays, he can play at a high level. He cuts both ways obviously, and [Bears GM] Ryan Pace, [Bears coach] John Fox and [offensive coordinator] Adam Gase have to kind of figure that out.
"But I would struggle with saying that at ‘7' you're going to take Mariota and get rid of Cutler."
But with that being said, if GM Ryan Pace didn't feel he was getting fair value for the 7th pick and the right to draft Mariota, and he decided to draft the Oregon Heisman Trophy winner himself, then I think the best course of action would be to dump Cutler.
If you draft a QB in the top 10, you're declaring he's The Guy, so there's no point in keeping Cutler. Sign a journeyman to compete with Mariota and, worst case scenario, you let the rookie learn from a wily vet for a little while.
Mayock also called this class of quarterbacks and safeties the shallowest, and he has eight running backs with a 1st-3rd round grade.
Here are a few other potentially Bears related nuggets from Mayock via Twitter.
Mike Mayock likes Florida's Dante Fowler best as potential OLB for a 3-4 scheme at No. 7 if #Bears go that route.— Brad Biggs (@BradBiggs) February 16, 2015
Asked Mayock about Ryan Pace. Said his #Saints teams coveted big O-linemen, even at G/T, big D-line and big WRs. #Bears got those WRs.— Patrick Finley (@patrickfinley) February 16, 2015
Mayock: Washington NT Danny Shelton obviously is similar to Ravens DT Haloti Ngata. ...sees him as top-10 pick. #Bears— Rich Campbell (@Rich_Campbell) February 16, 2015
Mike Mayock likes @NU_Sports safety Ibraheim Campbell, calls him a "smart, tough" player who's projected now as a 4th-rounder.— Kevin Fishbain (@kfishbain) February 16, 2015
9) Speaking of the quarterback position, former Chicago QB Josh McCown was cut by the Buccaneers last week and the immediate thought was McCown to Baltimore, so he could work with his former coach and play caller Marc Trestman, who is now the O.C. for the Ravens.
But not so fast...
Earlier today McCown met with Rex Ryan and the Buffalo Bills, who just two months ago had their starting QB retire. With Kyle Orton calling it a career, the Bills could use a veteran to compete with E.J. Manuel, but I still see a Rex Ryan - Mark Sanchez reunion in the cards for Buffalo.
9a) Here's a question for Bears fans. Let's assume GM Ryan Pace finds a trade partner and moves Jay Cutler for a solid package of draft picks. Would you rather Pace sign Josh McCown or convince Kyle Orton to un-retire and finish his career where it started?
10) In Dan Kadar's latest Mock Draft, he sticks with Kentucky OLB Alvin "Bud" Dupree with his pick at 7 for the Bears.
Some might say seventh overall is a little bit high for Dupree. If he has a good combine this week, they won't. Dupree is a highly athletic rush end but he's not restricted to rushing the passer. He's quick to read the run and has strength to get off blocks.
At this point it's still really early to know which direction the Bears will go, but there are enough prospects that should be available that can step in and make an instant impact on Vic Fangio's defense.
Now it's your turn to chime in with your own thoughts in the comment section!
But keep in mind two things, (1) Jay Cutler was a topic in my Thoughts this week and (2) you all agreed to our Community Guidelines before signing up for Windy City Gridiron. Let's keep it classy out there...